The travel nightmare will continue into mid-January as airline staff call out sick with COVID. 

At least U.S. 1,239 flights are canceled and 5,376 are delayed today as travel chaos drags into a seventh day, according to tracking website FlightAware, and JetBlue announced is has already cut 1,280 flights between December 30 and January 13 because of the coronavirus. 

Staffing shortages caused by COVID infections led United Airline to cancel 198 flights on Thursday while Atlanta-based Delta said it canceled 121, and JetBlue reported 175 nixed flights.

Holiday travelers at Los Angeles International Airport faced long lines, delays, and severe weather conditions on Thursday as  heavy rainfall in Los Angeles led to multiple cancellations.    

Delta apologized to LAX travelers who complained about long waits at the runway and hour long waits to reach the gate.  

‘We apologize to our customers arriving in Los Angeles for the delay in their travel plans,’ Delta said in a statement. ‘A combination of issues, including but not limited to inclement weather with heavy rainfall in Los Angeles and the impact of the omicron variant, are driving operational challenges. Delta teams are working hard to get our customers to the gate safely.’

Some passengers vented their fury on social media saying they were forced to wait on the tarmac for hours before being told to deplane. Others said the wait time at call centers was as long as 102 minutes as phone lines jammed. 

The U.S. has hit a record number of COVID infections. A seven-day average of cases nationwide currently sits at 300,387, the highest of the pandemic so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. New data shows 489,267 new cases recorded yesterday – 15,057 of which were caused by the mutant omicron variant. 

Delta apologized to LAX travelers who complained about long waits at the runway and hour long waits to reach the gate

Delta apologized to LAX travelers who complained about long waits at the runway and hour long waits to reach the gate

Delta apologized to LAX travelers who complained about long waits at the runway and hour long waits to reach the gate

Holiday travelers at Los Angeles International Airport faced long lines, delays, and severe weather conditions on Thursday as heavy rainfall in Los Angeles led to multiple cancellations

Holiday travelers at Los Angeles International Airport faced long lines, delays, and severe weather conditions on Thursday as heavy rainfall in Los Angeles led to multiple cancellations

Holiday travelers at Los Angeles International Airport faced long lines, delays, and severe weather conditions on Thursday as heavy rainfall in Los Angeles led to multiple cancellations

An exhausted woman rests at LAX on Thursday as the airport faced major delays caused by weather and short staffing due to Covid-19

An exhausted woman rests at LAX on Thursday as the airport faced major delays caused by weather and short staffing due to Covid-19

An exhausted woman rests at LAX on Thursday as the airport faced major delays caused by weather and short staffing due to Covid-19

Los Angeles International Airport is packed with travelers looking to escape on the run-up to New Years Eve

Los Angeles International Airport is packed with travelers looking to escape on the run-up to New Years Eve

Los Angeles International Airport is packed with travelers looking to escape on the run-up to New Years Eve

The chaotic scene at Los Angeles International Airport on the run-up to New years Eve as travelers are faced with delays due to heavy rains in Los Angeles

The chaotic scene at Los Angeles International Airport on the run-up to New years Eve as travelers are faced with delays due to heavy rains in Los Angeles

The chaotic scene at Los Angeles International Airport on the run-up to New years Eve as travelers are faced with delays due to heavy rains in Los Angeles

A holiday traveler covers himself in a blanket on the floor at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday as the airport faces major delays due to bad weather and staff shortages

A holiday traveler covers himself in a blanket on the floor at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday as the airport faces major delays due to bad weather and staff shortages

A holiday traveler covers himself in a blanket on the floor at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday as the airport faces major delays due to bad weather and staff shortages

As a result of rising coronavirus infections among staff, JetBlue also announced it was cutting more than 1,280 flights, or 10 percent of its daily schedule, from December 30 through January 13 in order ‘to get even further ahead of the expected increase in Omicron cases,’ CNBC reported. 

‘This past week has been one of our most difficult operating periods during the pandemic,’ three JetBlue department leaders wrote Tuesday in a note to staff. ‘The exponential growth in Omicron cases over just a couple of days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for.’ 

The flight cuts is yet another blow to U.S carriers whose 2020 net losses after the pandemic were in the billions, according to analyst estimates provided by the software company FactSet.

Travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport line up for Covid testing in the parking garage on Thursday

Travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport line up for Covid testing in the parking garage on Thursday

Travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport line up for Covid testing in the parking garage on Thursday

Travelers getting on line at the airline ticketing at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airpot on Thursday as delays and cancellations continue

Travelers getting on line at the airline ticketing at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airpot on Thursday as delays and cancellations continue

Travelers getting on line at the airline ticketing at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airpot on Thursday as delays and cancellations continue 

The long line of holiday travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport patiently wait for Covid testing as Omicron rates continue to rise

The long line of holiday travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport patiently wait for Covid testing as Omicron rates continue to rise

The long line of holiday travelers coming and going from LaGuardia Airport patiently wait for Covid testing as Omicron rates continue to rise

Travelers exiting LaGuardia Airport look for transportation to city. Holiday travelers continued to face flight cancellations at New York City-area after Omicron related short staffing

Travelers exiting LaGuardia Airport look for transportation to city. Holiday travelers continued to face flight cancellations at New York City-area after Omicron related short staffing

Travelers exiting LaGuardia Airport look for transportation to city. Holiday travelers continued to face flight cancellations at New York City-area after Omicron related short staffing 

The busy scene at an airline ticketing line inside Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday

The busy scene at an airline ticketing line inside Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday

The busy scene at an airline ticketing line inside Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday

A LaGuardia Airport employee helps passengers trying to make their way through the airport on Thursday

A LaGuardia Airport employee helps passengers trying to make their way through the airport on Thursday

A LaGuardia Airport employee helps passengers trying to make their way through the airport on Thursday

Airlines are still projected to have lost more than $200 billion through next year.

The chaos kickstarted over the holiday weekend after more than 7,300 flights were impacted Sunday, and 4,000 flights were canceled or delayed on Christmas Day, frustrating travelers. 

More cancellations are expected during the day as airlines scramble to deal with the surge of COVID cases. 

On Thursday, seven days into the holiday travel week, people were still on social media sharing their nightmare travel stories. 

‘JetBlue just absolutely making my life hell right now,’ one person tweeted Thursday morning. 

Others complained about long delays and mismanagement of flights.  

‘Been sitting in line for the Delta help desk at SeaTac for the past 3 hours rapidly approaching 24 hours awake because of this mismanaged flight,’ an angry customer tweeted. 

Someone else tweeted: ‘Delta pretty sure I just caught covid sitting on the tarmac for 2.5 hours at LAX waiting to deplane flight #0458. How is it that there were no other gates available for 2.5 hours?’

‘Thank you United for delaying my flight two hours, having us board, then spending 3 more hours before cancelling it. Love being sent back into the airport at 4:30 am and being told there is no update until 6!’ another unlucky traveler tweeted. 

A traveler looks at a flight status board at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on Tuesday

A traveler looks at a flight status board at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on Tuesday

A traveler looks at a flight status board at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on Tuesday

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